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2017 - 2018

Programming

Edith Brunette
from September 1st 2017 to December 31st 2017

MOMENTA | Biennale de l’image, Valérie Mréjen
from September 8th 2017 to October 21st 2017

MOMENTA | Biennale de l’image, Melik Ohanian
from September 8th 2017 to October 21st 2017

Caroline Mauxion
from November 11th 2017 to December 16th 2017

Teja Gavankar
from November 11th 2017 to December 16th 2017

Caroline Mauxion
le November 22nd 2017

Teja Gavankar
le November 26th 2017

Artiste à l'école
from December 12th 2017 to December 16th 2017

Bertille Bak
Lisa Jackson
Yoshua Okón
Helen Reed
May Truong
Commissaire | Curator: Zoë Chan

from January 20th 2018 to March 17th 2018


from January 20th 2018 to March 17th 2018

Raymonde April, Jessica Auer, Jacques Bellavance, Velibor Božović, Gwynne Fulton, Katie Jung, Jinyoung Kim, Lise Latreille, Celia Perrin Sidarous, Marie-Christine Simard, Bogdan Stoica, Andrea Szilasi, Chih-Chien Wang
from April 14th 2018 to June 16th 2018




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Edith Brunette, 2016

Edith Brunette
from September 1st 2017 to December 31st 2017

In partnership with OPTICA, artist Edith Brunette will undertake a documentation and art intervention project during the coming year in which she attempts to bring the worlds of art and multimedia closer together. This project falls in line with the artist’s ongoing focus on the economy of the art milieu.


Edith Brunette blends her art practice with theoretical research. Concerned with the discourses at work in the arts and with the political forces and power relationships they reveal, her recent projects have dealt, among other things, with video surveillance (Caméraroman, 2011), speaking out in times of social crisis (Consensus, 2012) and artists’ political agency (Faut-il se couper la langue?, 2013; Cuts Make the Country Better, 2015, in collaboration with François Lemieux).


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Valérie Mréjen, Leur histoire, 2014.
Vidéo HD, couleur, son, 3 minutes 30 secondes (en boucle)
Collection LVMH
Crédit : Paul Litherland

MOMENTA | Biennale de l’image, Valérie Mréjen
from September 8th 2017 to October 21st 2017
What Does the Image Stand For?

Guest Curator: Ami Barak

MOMENTA | Biennale de l’image (formely Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal) presents, in collaboration with OPTICA, Valérie Mréjen –Q&R – Q&A from September 8th to October 21st. The opening is being held on September 8th at 7:30pm, in the presence of the artist.

Valérie Mréjen’s (France) moving and still images are inspired by personal memories, commonplace ideas, and misunderstandings. The exchanges taking place in her works, loaded with intensity, transform banal situations into existential metaphors. In Leur histoire (2014), two people seated at a restaurant table chat. Their conversation is punctuated by images collected elsewhere, as if these images could put some order in their relationship. In Déshabillé (2017), six characters evoke memories and personal stories related to clothing. In this situation the clothes make the man; it is appearance that reveals the characters’ psychological complexity. In La Baule, ciel d’orage (2016), the candour of the life stories and exchanges leaves room for a poetry of the everyday, an aesthetic of the refrain, in which such beings become innocent and touching heroes who easily inspire our affection.

MOMENTA 2017

For its 15th edition, MOMENTA has joined forces with curator Ami Barak, who has developed an outstanding program on the theme What Does the Image Stand For? The 2017 edition of MOMENTA explores the concept of photographic and videographic evidence for the prosecution, whether images are still or in motion, raising the question of images as avatars, and focusing on the fantastical and sublimated aspects of the reality that they convey. The 38 artists in this biennale invite us not to accept their testimony uncritically. The biennale comprises three segments. The first, which corresponds to the central exhibition at our headquarters, focuses on the work of 23 artists and is being presented at two sites: Galerie de l’UQAM and VOX, centre de l’image contemporaine. The second consists of 14 solo exhibitions spread throughout the city. And the third is an exhibition of documents located at Artexte. MOMENTA is also a vast program of public activities, talks, projections, and encounters, as well as many opportunities to meet the artists and see their works. The biennale would be incomplete without its catalogue, co-produced with the prestigious publishing house Kerber Verlag, which brings together texts by the curator and five authors who address the question What Does the Image Stand For?


EVENTS SURROUNDING THE EXHIBITIONS MOMENTA

Discussions and Talks


Day of discussion with artists of the Biennale

September, 9
10 AM to 12 PM

Maison Shaughnessy, Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA)
1920 Baile Street, Montreal

Morning session
Erin Shirreff
Jayce Salloum
Nelson Henricks
Jonas St. Michael
Valérie Mréjen

Sujets a: desire — appeals

Sujets a alludes to a central concept animating Ami Barak’s curatorial theme: Jacques Lacan’s objet a. This series of discussions draws Lacan’s concept into a space for conversation, where the public is invited to engage with many artists in the biennale and reflect on some of the motivations behind their work.

Talk and signature session with Valérie Mréjen

September 9,
2 PM to 3 PM 30

Librairie Euguelionne
1426, Beaudry street, Montreal

On the occasion of the publication of Troisième personne, Valérie Mréjen will take part of a public discussion with Marie-Ève Blais, bookseller at librairie l'Euguélionne. The event will be follow by a signature session.
Mix and Match Tour

A Mix and Match Tour combining a guided tour of the exhibitions at Optica and Centre CLARK takes place on September 23 at 12 PM 30.

Screening nights at Cinémathèque québécoise

A screening night presenting a selection of the artist’s works takes place on September 27 at 7 PM.

So you won’t miss anything in the 2017 edition, a detailed program is available for free at all of our exhibition partners and on momentabiennale.com.

Providing access to all biennale activities, MOMENTA Passports are available at La Vitrine box office (online: lavitrine.com).

About MOMENTA

For nearly 30 years, Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal has been offering a stimulating framework within which to study current practices, evolutions, and issues associated with the still and moving image in Western culture, and to take the pulse of trends in contemporary image making. Renamed MOMENTA | Biennale de l’image in 2017, the organization plays a crucial role in the local, national, and international ecology of the visual arts community. Through its curatorial approach, renowned guest curators develop rigorous artistic programming based on relevant themes; the biennale enjoys a well-established reputation in its city and country, as well as abroad. It actively contributes to the recognition of Canadian artists – who comprise more than 50% of the artists in each edition – by presenting their work within an international context, in association with 15 exhibition partners. In 7 editions, the organization has exhibited more than 2,000 works by 400 artists, and welcomed almost 22 million visitors.

COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE (pdf)

PRESS REVIEW

DELGADO, Jérôme. «La Biennale, au-delà des clichés, Une sélection des expos solos qui ressortent du lot à Momenta», Le Devoir, September 16, 2017.

Valérie Mréjen (1969–) is a French artist, filmmaker, and novelist who lives and works in Paris. A graduate of the Paris-Cergy National Graduate School of Art, she has always been interested in different means of expression as ways of exploring the potential of language. She draws her inspiration from accounts of real-life experiences, which she rewrites and stages. She launched her art career with a number of artist’s books, before turning to video. In 2008, her work was featured in a solo exhibition, La place de la concorde, held at the Jeu de Paume Museum (Paris). She has also done many short films, documentaries (Pork and Milk, 2004; Valvert, 2008), and, co-directed with Bertrand Schefer, a full-length film titled En ville (Quinzaine des réalisateurs, Cannes, 2011). She published Mon grand-père (1999), L’Agrume (2001) with Les éditions Allia, and Forêt noire (2012) and Troisième personne (2017) with Les éditions P.O.L. She is represented by Galerie Anne-Sarah Bénichou (Paris).




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Melik Ohanian
Portrait of Duration, 2015.
Sept photographies sur Duratrans, boîtes lumineuses, animation Arduino, 1 seconde, 105 x 90 x 10 cm chaque
Collection Pomeranz
Crédit : Paul Litherland


MOMENTA | Biennale de l’image, Melik Ohanian
from September 8th 2017 to October 21st 2017
What Does the Image Stand For?

Guest Curator: Ami Barak

MOMENTA | Biennale de l’image (formerly Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal) presents, in collaboration with OPTICA, Melik Ohanian – Portrait of Duration. L’instant S from September 8th to October 21st. The opening is being held on September 8th at 7:30pm, in attendance of the artist.

Melik Ohanian (France) explores the relationships between science, astrophysics, and the visual arts. In Portrait of Duration (2015), he reveals the change of state of cesium 133, the chemical element that defines the universal second in atomic clocks through its transition from solid to liquid state. Ohanian invites the viewer to experience a representation of time itself. Portrait of Duration – Expand Series (2015/2017) is composed of large scale images excerpted from the experiments conducted for Portrait of Duration. Each photograph proposes a figure of time. The Post-Image series (2014) is made from media content culled from the international press, meticulously torn to pieces by the artist. This gesture questions the nature, circulation, and reproduction of images in the present era.

MOMENTA 2017

For its 15th edition, MOMENTA has joined forces with curator Ami Barak, who has developed an outstanding program on the theme What Does the Image Stand For? The 2017 edition of MOMENTA explores the concept of photographic and videographic evidence for the prosecution, whether images are still or in motion, raising the question of images as avatars, and focusing on the fantastical and sublimated aspects of the reality that they convey. The 38 artists in this biennale invite us not to accept their testimony uncritically. The biennale comprises three segments. The first, which corresponds to the central exhibition at our headquarters, focuses on the work of 23 artists and is being presented at two sites: Galerie de l’UQAM and VOX, centre de l’image contemporaine. The second consists of 14 solo exhibitions spread throughout the city. And the third is an exhibition of documents located at Artexte.

MOMENTA is also a vast program of public activities, talks, projections, and encounters, as well as many opportunities to meet the artists and see their works. The biennale would be incomplete without its catalogue, co-produced with the prestigious publishing house Kerber Verlag, which brings together texts by the curator and five authors who address the question What Does the Image Stand For?

Mix and Match Tour

A Mix and Match Tour combining a guided tour of the exhibitions at Optica and Centre CLARK takes place on September 23 at 12:30pm.

So you won’t miss anything in the 2017 edition, a detailed program is available for free at all of our exhibition partners and on momentabiennale.com.

Providing access to all biennale activities, MOMENTA Passports are available at La Vitrine box office (online: lavitrine.com).

About MOMENTA

For nearly 30 years, Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal has been offering a stimulating framework within which to study current practices, evolutions, and issues associated with the still and moving image in Western culture, and to take the pulse of trends in contemporary image making. Renamed MOMENTA | Biennale de l’image in 2017, the organization plays a crucial role in the local, national, and international ecology of the visual arts community. Through its curatorial approach, renowned guest curators develop rigorous artistic programming based on relevant themes; the biennale enjoys a well-established reputation in its city and country, as well as abroad. It actively contributes to the recognition of Canadian artists – who comprise more than 50% of the artists in each edition – by presenting their work within an international context, in association with 15 exhibition partners. In 7 editions, the organization has exhibited more than 2,000 works by 400 artists, and welcomed almost 22 million visitors.

PRESS RELEASE(pdf)



Melik Ohanian (1969–) is a French artist of Armenian origin who lives and works in Paris and New York. His work, which focuses on the question of time, borrows procedures and devices from cinema and projection technique to explore the relationships between science, astrophysics, and the visual arts. His most recent solo exhibitions include Under Shadows at the Centre Georges- Pompidou (Paris, 2016) and DAYS, I See what I Saw and what I will See at Art Basel (2015). His work has also been featured in group exhibitions, such as Dreamlands, Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, 2016); Les Rencontres d’Arles (2016); the 20th Sydney Biennale (2016); and the 56th Venice Biennale (2015), for which the Armenian pavilion, where his work was exhibited, won the Golden Lion award for the best national pavilion. Ohanian was awarded the Marcel Duchamp Prize in 2015. He is represented by Galerie Chantal Crousel (Paris) and the Dvir Gallery (Tel Aviv, Brussels).




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Caroline Mauxion, Une enveloppe sans contours, 2017. Impression sur verre trempé, 76, 2 x 152, 4 cm. | Print on toughened glass, 76, 2 x 152, 4 cm. Avec l'aimable permission de l'artiste | Courtesy of the artist

Caroline Mauxion
from November 11th 2017 to December 16th 2017

“There is the puddle,’ said Rhoda, ‘and I cannot cross it. I hear the rush of the great grindstone within an inch of my head. Its wind roars in my face. All palpable forms of life have failed me. Unless I can stretch and touch something hard, I shall be blown down the eternal corridors for ever. What, then, can I touch? What brick, what stone? and so draw myself across the enormous gulf into my body safely?”

Virginia Woolf, The Waves

Rather than engaging in the practice of the photographic image, Caroline Mauxion explains that her work consists of practising the photographic image. The nuance is critical, as it reassociates photography with the idea of action and it emphasizes both the performativity of the image and its materiality, for which notions of contact and movement are essential. Mauxion’s images are thus to be seen as testing the limits of the visible and invisible, of transparency and opacity, of abstraction and figuration, of shadow and light.

The work presented at OPTICA is inspired by the originating conditions of photography. Through photographic procedures, which imprint intensities of light onto photosensitive surfaces, distinct materials become closely related. The sheet of cracked glass and the water puddle are imagined geographies, constant returns to writings of Virginia Woolf. The description of spaces between the tangible and the intangible in Woolf’s novels and short stories serve as a guide in the artist’s creative process. The presented works become reinterpretations of recurring motifs in Woolfian imagery, endeavouring to make visible that which is hidden in the “cotton wool of daily life.”

If Mauxion practises photography, she also installs it. The glass plate, become photographic support, depends on its installation in the space to reveal the image; the white page on which the photograph would normally be printed is replaced by the white wall. Some images become nearly invisible. Many can be read in different ways. They invite physical movement. All are created upon contact.

Author: Daniel Fiset

Daniel Fiset is an art historian and educator. He lives and works in Montreal.

Public Discussion between Caroline Mauxion and Daniel Fiset at OPTICA, November 22, 2017 from 6:30 PM to 8 PM.

PRESS RELEASE (pdf)

PRESS REVIEW

DELGADO, Jérôme. «Invisibles corruptions, Teja Gavankar séduit avec des petits dérangements de l’ordre établi», Le Devoir, December 2, 2017.

DELGADO, Jérôme. «Un automne sous le signe éclaté de Caroline Mauxion», Le Devoir, September 5, 2017.



Originally from France, Caroline Mauxion has been living in Montreal since 2010. She is the recipient of the Sylvie et Simon Blais Foundation’s Award for Emerging Visual Artists (2015). Her work has been shown in solo exhibitions in Montreal, at Galerie Les Territoires (2014) and Galerie Simon Blais (2015), and in Rimouski, at Centre d’artistes Caravansérail (2016). She will be undertaking a residency in Banff in 2018, under the auspices of the CALQ’s residency program


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Teja Gavankar, other’s spaces 002, 2016. Dessin, 21, 59 x 27, 94 cm. | Drawing, 21, 59 x 27, 94 cm. Avec l'aimable permission de l'artiste | Courtesy of the artist

Teja Gavankar
from November 11th 2017 to December 16th 2017

Indian artist Teja Gavankar’s field of investigation and action is the everyday and the transformation of space in its most mundane attributes. Her drawings and in situ interventions negotiate the territory’s modes of appearance, distilling its identity and extracting its specificities. She draws from constructed surroundings, made familiar through repeated experience, and teases out new configurations. While the artist has mainly produced site-specific projects in urban spaces, the work presented at OPTICA represents a first gallery production.

Interested in geometry and topologies, Gavankar revisits architectural elements—walls, floors, stairs, and recently, the corner motif—turning them into conditions for the emergence of an experience, seeking to break the tranquil poise of their functionality, structure, and particular characteristics. Yet, these very minimal artistic interventions, whether in two or three dimensions, generate an undeniable force. They manipulate little things, trivialities, in order to produce subtleties that bear great perceptual ambiguities.

The artist’s drawing practice challenges the ruled grid, the paper support-tool that gives one’s stroke a Cartesian guidance and orientation. Many Indian artists have given critical attention to the means of describing, calculating, and measuring various manifestations of the world. Deployed in India during British occupation and associated with modernity and colonialism, these markers have enabled the classification and topology of both the natural and human resources found on the territory. Even if Gavantar, like other artists of India’s new creative generation, does not make direct historical references, her use of the grid remains critical nonetheless. It is a question of tackling restrictive structures and their demands. At times, she will blow the grid apart, favouring curved lines and offset, oblique strokes that run outside the rectilinear compartments or erasing some of the squares. Reinventing the line through such gestures, she brings suppleness to structural rigidity.

Author: Julie Alary Lavallée
Julie Alary Lavallée is a doctoral student in art history at Concordia University.
Her research concerns group shows by contemporary Indian artists in a diasporic context.

Public Presentation of Teja Gavankar at Darling Foundry The event is organised in partnership with the Darling Foundry, 745, Ottawa st., H2C 1R8. The talk will be held in English, while the conversation will be in French and English. Thursday, November 16, from 6 to 8 PM.

PRESS RELEASE (pdf)

PRESS REVIEW

RAIKAR-MHATRE, Sumedha. «Sumedha Raikar-Mhatre: Born Out Of A Space Crunch, Back From A Show In Montreal, Artist Teja Gavankar Reflects On Mumbai's Geometry And Contradictions Of Urban Living», Mid-day, December 17, 2017.

DELGADO, Jérôme. «Invisibles corruptions, Teja Gavankar séduit avec des petits dérangements de l’ordre établi», Le Devoir, December 2, 2017.



With an MFA from the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (India), Teja Gavankar has completed a number of residencies, including one in 2014 at Darling Foundry, Montreal (with the support of the Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation). In 2016, she took part in the Young Subcontinent exhibition (Serendipity Art Festival, India). She lives and works in Bombay.


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Discussion entre Caroline Mauxion et Daniel Fiset à OPTICA, 2017.
Photo : Esther Bourdages

Caroline Mauxion
November 22nd 2017
Public Talk

Part of her solo exhibition at OPTICA, Une enveloppe sans contours, Caroline Mauxion will meet with Daniel Fiset in the form of a public talk. The activity takes place from 6:30 PM until 8 PM.



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Présentation de Teja Gavankar à la Fonderie Darling, 2017.
Photo : Hugo St-Laurent

Teja Gavankar
November 26th 2017
Public Talk of Teja Gavankar

Former laureate of the Indian Residency at the Darling Foundry (2014), Teja Gavankar gave a public presentation of her research as part of his solo exhibition other's spaces at OPTICA, a center for contemporary art that runs until December 16, 2017.

The event, which took place on Thursday, November 16, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm, was organized in partnership with the Darling Foundry located at 745 Ottawa Street, Montreal, H3C 1R8.


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Carton d'invitation, 2017.
Photo : Marie-Laure Robitaille

Artiste à l'école
from December 12th 2017 to December 16th 2017
Exhibition of students in grade 5 and 6 of Saint-Enfant-Jésus Elementary School (Mile End) - Caroline Mauxion's proposal

Opening on Tuesday December 12, 2017 from 5 pm to 6 pm

As part of the Artist at School program developed in 2014 by the OPTICA center, Caroline Mauxion gave a creative workshop to students in grades 5 and 6 of Saint-Enfant-Jésus Elementary School. Young people will explore the formal possibilities of cyanotic technique, inspired by the artistic language of the artist currently exhibiting at OPTICA. The students' art works will be unveiled to the public during a vernissage which will take place on December 12, 2017 from 5 pm to 6 pm and will be exhibited in the center's Agora space until December 16, 2017.
OPTICA would like to thank the staff and students of Saint-Enfant-Jésus Elementary School.

To get more information on our educational programming, contact Marie-Laure Robitaille: mediation@optica.ca
The educational program is supported by the ministère de la Culture et des Communications and the City of Montreal as part of the Entente sur le développement culturel de Montréal.



Entente sur le développement




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Yoshua Okón, Pulpo [Octopus], 2011. Projection vidéo à 2 canaux, son, 17 min 12 sec, seaux, épreuve chromogène, 49, 53 cm x 33,02 cm. | Pulpo [Octopus], 2011. 2-channel video projection, 17 min. 12 sec., buckets, chromogenic print, 49, 53 cm x 33,02 cm.
Avec l'aimable permission de l'artiste | Courtesy of the artist

Bertille Bak
Lisa Jackson
Yoshua Okón
Helen Reed
May Truong
Commissaire | Curator: Zoë Chan

from January 20th 2018 to March 17th 2018
Performing Lives

Opening, Saturday, January 20,_3 PM to 6 PM
Guided tour by Zoë Chan, 3:30 PM


Featuring recent video works by a selection of Canadian and international artists, Performing Lives explores—and bridges—the supposed gap between documentary and entertainment, information and spectacle, fact and fiction. Making references to and borrowing methods from TV, film, theatre, dance, and music, these videos represent various groups using strategies that venture beyond the expository approach characteristically associated with documentary cinema.

The expository approach indisputably plays a crucial role in informing the public, especially in the face of deceptive propaganda, the phenomenon of “fake news,” and the dissemination of other sorts of misinformation. In Performing Lives however, the featured videos eschew straightforward didacticism, instead embracing an array of performative strategies to draw in the viewer. They offer new awareness of and insight into the experiences, perspectives, and interests of groups whose collectively shared identities intersect with a multiplicity of factors—from ethnocultural origins and gender to leisure activities and life experiences: a Roma community living in the outskirts of Paris, Indigenous survivors of Canada’s residential school system, undocumented Guatemalan labourers in suburban Los Angeles, Twin Peaks fans, and young Asian-Canadian women.

In Recording Reality, Desiring the Real (2011), film studies scholar Elizabeth Cowie writes that in the world of cinema, there is often a perceived divide between information and spectacle—the former being associated with documentary and non-fiction and the latter with entertainment and fiction. This division is illusory, she argues: instead, these categories are inherently interconnected, as documentary is characterised by “a narrativizing of reality” that “engages us with the actions and feelings of social actors, like characters in fiction.” Cowie thus prefers to describe documentary as “embodied storytelling.”

Blurring the traditional binary categories of fiction vs non-fiction and their commonly associated attributes (lies vs truth, frivolity vs seriousness, etc.), Cowie’s definition of documentary offers a useful entry point into the hybridised narratives articulated in the videos comprising Performing Lives. Francis Ford Coppola’s iconic film The Outsiders, based on the popular young adult novel of alienated masculinity by S.E. Hinton, is re-cast with an all-female crew of Asian descent (May Troung, The Outsiders). The ongoing trauma of residential schools is played out in a hip-hop dance sequence inspired by zombie movies and the creepy music video for Michael Jackson’s Thriller (Lisa Jackson, Savage).

Though less brashly “mashup” in their respective approaches, the other videos in Performing Lives place equal emphasis on storytelling through embodied performativity: Twin Peaks enthusiasts act out the roles of their favourite characters from David Lynch’s cult series in scenes written entirely by fellow fans (Helen Reed, Twin Twin Peaks); the day-to-day struggles of the inhabitants of a Roma camp are evoked in a series of folktale-like vignettes (Bertille Bak, Transports à dos d’hommes); a Home Depot parking lot in Los Angeles becomes the unlikely setting for displaced Mayan migrants performing choreographed movements that allude to Guatemala’s bloody civil war in which they fought (Yoshua Okón, Pulpo). While these videos display a range of production values ranging from the DIY aesthetics of community theatre to the professional polish of mainstream cinema, they share a focus on so-called real people— often amateur or untrained performers—who are intimately and intrinsically linked to the stories expressed.

Employing familiar performative conventions from a range of pop cultural platforms (musical numbers, dance sequences, role play, costume, and so on), these videos compel viewers to focus not only on the content of the stories but also on how their subjects actively embody their roles. Scholar Carrie Noland contends in Agency and Embodiment (2009) that “culture is both embodied and challenged through corporeal performance”; to study the body’s many gestures is to understand how “human beings are embodied within—and impress themselves on—their worlds.” In this way, the body is written on by socialising forces—but also has the agency to write its own story. Noland argues that we should consider “how the body might speak to us—not beyond but through cultural frames.” Working in this vein, the videos in Performing Lives share a discernable interest in highlighting the agency of the body within rather than despite the codified structures of dancing, singing, or acting. Asking what new understandings we can glean from the performing subjects, the exhibition offers viewers a window into the perspectives, subjectivities, and experiences of the groups depicted.

Bertille Bak, Transports à dos d’hommes, 2012
Video with sound (15 min)
Courtesy of the artist and Xippas Gallery, Paris

French artist Bertille Bak is known for her commitment to the collaborative process. She gathered footage for Transports à dos d’hommes after spending time living in a Roma camp on the outskirts of Paris. Bak and members of this Roma community have created a playful folktale that hints at the many challenges they face: ongoing demolition of their camps by French authorities, the possibility of expulsion from France, poverty, homelessness, and unemployment.

Lisa Jackson, Savage, 2009
Video with sound (6 min)
Courtesy of the artist, Vtape, and Moving Images Distribution

A striking mashup of historical drama, melodrama, musicals, hip-hop, and horror movies, Savage examines the profound trauma—but also the resilience—of Indigenous children removed from their families and placed in residential schools. Featuring no dialogue and two stunning musical sequences, it tells the story of a young girl (interpreted by Ta’Kaiya Blaney, a performer and activist from the Tla’Amin First Nation), who is taken away from her mother (movingly played by Skeena Reece, an artist of Tsimshian/Gitksan and Métis/Cree descent).

Yoshua Okón, Pulpo [Octopus], 2011
2-channel video projection (17 min 12 s)
Home Depot buckets
Courtesy of the artist

Pulpo features a group of Mayan men who fought in the Guatemalan Civil War of the 1990s. The video was shot in a Home Depot parking lot in Los Angeles where these men, now undocumented migrants, met daily to look for work. Reenactments of the American Civil War are typically played out by hobbyists who in fetishistic detail recreate historic battle scenes; in contrast, Pulpo evokes its subjects’ experiences through a performance of simple choreographed gestures, far from home, sans heroic spectacle.

Helen Reed, Twin Twin Peaks, 2010
Video with sound (18 min 34 s)
Production materials (posters, newsletters, photographs, call sheets, auditions video)
Courtesy of the artist

Entirely shot and interpreted by Twin Peaks enthusiasts on a minimal budget, Twin Twin Peaks is the realisation of a screenplay written by fans of the original series who were upset by its abrupt ending after its second season in 1991. Helen Reed highlights the creativity and esprit de corps of the writers, cast, and crew in this unpolished DIY passion project that melds aspects of TV, community theatre, and social practice.

May Truong, The Outsiders, 2016
Video, no sound (5 min)
Ink on paper
Courtesy of the artist

May Truong riffs on S.E. Hinton’s coming-of-age novel The Outsiders and Francis Ford Coppola’s film based on the book, as well as Robert Frost’s poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay” (featured in the book and film). Replacing the white male protagonists with an all-female, Asian-Canadian cast selected from her own circle of friends, Truong composes brief vignettes that draw from the alienation experienced by the young anti-heroes of Hinton’s book.

Zoë Chan

Zoë Chan thanks the artists in Performing Lives, OPTICA, Vtape, Galerie Xippas, Antonio Loro for his editorial feedback, ICI (Independent Curators International), and the Canada Council for the Arts.

PRESS RELEASE (pdf)

PRESS REVIEW

MAVRIKAKIS, Nicolas. «Vies performatives» : jeux de rôles à Optica, Le Devoir, February 3, 2018.

MOCKLER, Veronica Florence. Coverage of the exhibition "Vies Performatives" at OPTICA, contemporary art centre, Les Étangs d'Art, Radio CISM 89.3 FM, January 30, 2018.

Canadian Art, "Must-Sees This Week: January 18 to 24, 2018", Canadian Art, January 18, 2018.

BEHA, Claire-Marine. « 11 expositions à découvrir en ce début d'année à Montréal», Le Baron, January 15, 2018.

Zoë Chan is an independent curator and critic. In her research, she has focused on youth and youth culture, food, documentary, and discourse around representation and identity. Her curatorial projects have been presented by Kamloops Art Gallery; MSVU Art Gallery, Halifax; Articule, Montréal; Foreman Art Gallery of Bishop’s University, Sherbrooke; and the MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels). She has contributed to Canadian Art, C Magazine, esse arts + opinions, and Momus, among other publications. She is a two-time recipient of the Canada Council for the Arts' Project Grant to Curators and Critics, and in 2015, received its Joan Lowndes Award in recognition of excellence in critical and curatorial writing. She has a Master’s degree in art history from Concordia University. cargocollective.com/zoechan

Bertille Bak was born in 1983 in Arras, France. She lives and works in Paris. She studied at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris and at Le Fresnoy - Studio national des arts contemporains in Tourcoing, France. Recent exhibitions include Boussa from the Netherlands, Artissima, Turin; Bertille Bak: Usine à divertissement, Plateau multimédia, FRAC Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Marseille; Complexe de Loisirs, Espace d'art Le Moulin de la Valette-du-Var; Bien arrivé. Temps splendide., Galerie Xippas, Geneva; Bertille Bak, A Frac Ouvert, FRAC Normandie Caen; Radice, The Apart, Rome; Bestiaire, Galerie Xippas, Paris; Le Tour de Babel, Grand Café, Saint Nazaire; Nettie Horn Gallery, London; Ô Quatrième, Les Églises, centre d’art contemporain de la Ville de Chelles, France; Urban Chronicle, Bielefelder Kunstverein; Circuits, Musée d'Art moderne de la ville de Paris; L’Institut des archives sauvages, Villa Arson, Nice; and Paroles des images, Palazzo Grassi, Venice. She is represented by Xippas Gallery in Paris. xippas.com

Named one of 10 to Watch by Playback Magazine in 2012, Lisa Jackson comes from a background in documentary, including the CTV "W5 Presents" 1-hour Reservation Soldiers and acclaimed short Suckerfish, and expanded into fiction with Savage, which won a 2010 Genie Award for Best Short Film. Jackson’s work has played at festivals internationally, including the Berlinale, SXSW, London BFI, HotDocs, and Edinburgh, as well as broadcast on CBC, CTV, TMN, Bravo!, Knowledge, SCN, and APTN. In 2013, she co-wrote an episode of the 1-hour teen supernatural series The Reckoner. Her short satire Intemperance premiered at imagineNATIVE as part of their Embargo Collective II commission project and she directed 21 drama segments for the 8-part docudrama series 1491, based on Charles C. Mann’s best-selling book. Jackson’s films have garnered numerous awards and in 2012 the ReelWorld Festival named her a « Trailblazer ». She is Anishinaabe, has a BFA in Film Production from Simon Fraser University, and has completed the Canadian Film Centre’s Directors’ Lab. She is the Director Mentor for the National Screen Institute's Aboriginal Documentary Training Program. lisajackson.ca

Yoshua Okón was born in Mexico City in 1970 where he currently lives. In 2002, he received an MFA from UCLA with a Fulbright scholarship. His solo shows exhibitions include: Yoshua Okón: Collateral, Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo MUAC, Mexico City; Salò Island, UC Irvine,Irvine; Piovra, Kaufmann Repetto, Milan; Poulpe, Mor Charpentier, Paris; Octopus, Cornerhouse, Manchester and Hammer Museum, Los Angeles and SUBTITLE, Städtische Kunsthalle, Munich. His group exhibitions include: Manifesta 11, Zurich; Gwangju Biennale, Korea; Antes de la resaca, MUAC, Mexico City;Incongruous, Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne; The Mole ́s Horizon, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels; Mercosur Biennial, Porto Alegre; Amateurs, CCA Wattis; San Francisco; Laughing in a Foreign Language, Hayward Gallery, London; Adaptive Behavior, New Museum, NY and Mexico City: an exhibition about the exchange rates between bodies and values, PS1, MoMA, NY, and Kunstwerke, Berlin. His work is included in the collections of Tate Modern, Hammer Museum, LACMA, Colección Jumex and MUAC, among others. yoshuaokon.com

Helen Reed is an artist based in Vancouver, Canada on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. Her projects take shape as public installations, social situations, and events that circulate as photographs, videos, printed matter, and artists’ multiples. She has exhibited internationally, with work appearing in such venues as The Portland Art Museum (OR), The Dunlop Art Gallery (SK), Smack Mellon (NY), Art League (TX), Dalhousie University Art Gallery (NS), The Vancouver Art Gallery (BC), The Power Plant (ON), and Flat Time House’s first issue of noit (UK). She has a Master of Fine Arts in Art and Social Practice from Portland State University. reheardregalement.com

Based in Toronto, May Truong is a photographer and visual artist. Through her photograph and video work, she explores themes of gender, race, and belonging. Her work has been exhibited in group shows in Canada, USA, and Europe, and was most recently shown at Circa Projects in Hamilton, Ontario in 2016. Known for her dynamic portraits of musicians, artists, and other public personalities, Truong is the photo editor at PERFECTOMag.com, an online fashion and lifestyle magazine. Her photographs have been featured in Châtelaine, The Globe and Mail, Maclean's, Marie Claire, Reader’s Digest, Toronto Life, Vice Magazine and XXL Magazine, among others. maytruong.com




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Helen Reed, Twin Twin Peaks, 2010.
Vidéo, 18 min 34 sec.
Matériaux de production (affiches, bulletins, photographies, feuilles d’appel, auditions vidéo). | Helen Reed, Twin Twin Peaks, 2010. Video, 18 min. 34 sec. Production materials (posters, newsletters, photographs, call sheets, auditions video).
Avec l'aimable permission de l'artiste | Courtesy of the artist


from January 20th 2018 to March 17th 2018

Family Saturday - Engraving Workshop on the work of the exhibition Performing Lives - Saturday, January 27 and March 17, 2018 - 1 to 4 PM

With friends or family, enjoy the Family Saturday to discover the exhibition Performative Lives and contribute to a great collaborative story. During this workshop you will be invited to experiment with styrofoam engraving.

PRACTICAL INFORMATIONS
Free
From 1 pm to 4 pm
For children aged 4 and older.

For more information, please contact Marie-Laure Robitaille: mediation@optica.ca

The educational program is supported by the ministère de la Culture et des Communications and the City of Montreal as part of the Entente sur le développement culturel de Montréal.



Entente sur le développement




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Raymonde April, Portrait de groupe à la Société des plantes, 2014. Impression jet d’encre, 76,2 x 114, 3 cm. Avec l'aimable permission de l'artiste | Courtesy of the artist

Raymonde April, Jessica Auer, Jacques Bellavance, Velibor Božović, Gwynne Fulton, Katie Jung, Jinyoung Kim, Lise Latreille, Celia Perrin Sidarous, Marie-Christine Simard, Bogdan Stoica, Andrea Szilasi, Chih-Chien Wang
from April 14th 2018 to June 16th 2018

Outre-vie / Afterlife brings together pictorial artists who work separately together. Their point of departure is the “after-life” of the photographic image, considered as a material, as memory, as a trace, or as story. The group’s practices are hugely diverse, including observations of daily life, constructed fictions, storytelling, recordings, photography, video, writing, drawing, sound, and installations. Artists of Afterlife meet regularly, exchanging views around a dinner table or during working residencies outside Montreal. Often interested in the same subjects, they broach them from separate paths. Their group projects are infused with an intimate fellowship that gives rise to a stream of repetitions, variations, borrowings, and citations, echoing the fluidity of conversation and conjuring art-making as a simple, everyday gesture.